According to the Ottawa Sun, grizzled veteran and Ottawa Senators defenceman Jason Smith is set to retire after 17 years in the NHL. The report indicated that Smith's reasoning was that he doesn't have the same passion for the game as he has in past years, and I can't say I blame him for not wanting to take the physical punishment a defenceman of his style takes every game for another year.
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Smith was signed in July of last year to a two-year, $5.2M contract by the Senators. His leadership and grit were cited as the reasons for the signing. What turned out to be his final season must have been a frustrating one, in which he was given limited ice time, scored only one goal and no assists, and also missed 18 games due to a knee injury. Not a fitting way to go out for such a warrior, but that happens sometimes.
I'm hoping his experience with the Senators' isn't what soured him on the game. I have a feeling that GM Bryan Murray had an inkling of Smith's feelings towards another NHL season. Rumours were swirling this off-season that, if he were to return, Smith was likely to be placed on long-term injured reserve, or traded in a salary-cap-dump deal, or be 'encouraged' to retire. Hopefully this was a decision Smith made of his own accord.
Whatever it is, best of luck in retirement to Smith.
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